Everyone watching the big event here in England this weekend? I watched a bit of the procession down the Thames on T.V. this afternoon, but eventually had to settle for a radio broadcast, since I had a lot of driving to do!
Since I last blogged I spent a couple of days in Bath, a lovely but rather small city. It was really nice just to stop for a day and not have to drive anywhere or do anything in particular. And just before I departed Bath, my rental sat-nav arrived! Hooray!! I can't tell you how much better I feel now that I've got a voice telling me exactly where to go and which lane I need to be in. The last couple of days would have been much more stressful if I didn't have little Tomtom.
Unfortunately because I had to wait around for a while for the sat-nav to arrive, I didn't leave Bath until midday, which meant I had to drastically cut short the list I'd made of sights I wanted to visit around the Cotswolds. I did visit Avebury, a quaint little village that just happens to have giant stones sticking up out of the ground from the Stone Age. I figured that as awesome as Stonehenge is, I've seen it twice already, so this time I'd visit a different stone location instead. Avebury is a great little place, but I wouldn't recommend visiting it INSTEAD of Stonehenge. The 'Henge is just heaps cooler.
After Avebury I raced towards Warwick Castle, not quite realising that it would be a 2-hour drive. By the time I finally got there, it was only an hour and a half before closing time, and all of the day's big events like jousting had finished. I did manage to see the trebuchet launch though, which was pretty spectacular.
What really surprised (shocked!) me about Warwick Castle is that this ancient fortress has been converted into... a family theme park! I didn't quite know what to make of it to start with. There's people dressed up in costume acting in character, there's "rides" and events, merchandise... On the one hand it all seemed a bit perverse and insensitive to the history of the castle. But on the other hand... I mean, why not? I can tell you now, all of the kids that I saw there were absolutely LOVING being in "medieval land," some of them dressing up, trying their hand at archery or meeting a dragon in one of the towers. If I was 8 or 9 I would have thought it was the best place ever. I could still walk around the castle grounds and soak it all in, climbing the ramparts and towers, etc... It's just not the kind of castle you go to if you're looking for a historical visit.
Today I called in to see Elsie, who I hadn't seen since I visited her here with my family FIFTEEN years ago!! That spins my head! It was great to catch up with her, and we both had lots and lots of stories to tell each other. She's got her aerial picture of Sandy Point up on her living room wall, and I was pointing out to her where the shops and house are. She still holds extremely fond and vivid memories of her visit to Australia back in 1994.
So now I'm in York, one of my favourite British cities. I'm so happy I've got back here. When Andrew & I breezed through York on the Stray bus tour 11 years ago I knew it was a place I wanted to return to. Only damper on the current situation is that the weather's turned lousy. Bleugh. I was driving through the rain all day today. I suppose it could have been worse... I could have been going down the Thames in a boat...
I've already been for a brief walk around the city and it's as beautiful as I remember it. Check out the photo below of The Shambles. (Third picture) Just amazing! And Yorkminster Cathedral is a sight to behold as well! I'm going to have a tour tomorrow. Apart from that, the city is my oyster. I'm going to just wander and see what I can see.
Happy Jubilee! :-)